Category Archives: Synthetic People

Cyber-hugs and robot babies – a brave new world

This is exactly what I hate… Artificial! Synthetic! Virtual!:

 

Image of a woman interacting a robot baby

Cyber-hugs and robot babies – a brave new world

Originally published: ufodigest.com, unexplained-mysteries.com & world-mysteries.com
29th June 2010

Artificial! Synthetic! Virtual! These are the buzz words of the new millennium, buzz words that describe the brave new world it seems we cannot wait to reach. Every week there are blazing new technological developments towards this end. It seems that even over the past year the momentum has gathered blistering speed. We are all too happy for the natural to be replaced by the artificial. ‘Sim card man’ is truly on the horizon.

This week there are reports that a Tokyo University team has developed a robot designed to simulate the development and behaviour of a nine-month-old baby in an effort to better understand how humans grow. Creating a robot which can develop cognition in a way that a human baby does during its growth process should also help in achieving a society where robots and humans can live side by side, says Professor Kuniyoshi. “Our purpose is to build a system that can learn various behaviours and acquire various functionalities as it explores around the environment and interacting with humans,” 1 he said.

Noby is a highly accurate model with the sensory and motor functions of a nine-month-old human baby. The body is covered in a soft “skin” with 600 tactile sensors. It is flexible and its joints can move like those of a human baby.

 

Noby also has two cameras for “seeing” and two microphones for “listening to” the external world. The project is also part of attempts to make more human-like robots. Professor Kuniyoshi’s team chose a nine-month-old human baby as Noby’s model as this is the time of rapid development of movement and cognition functions.

Image of a woman holding a robot baby

There are two remarkable assumptions behind this experiment. First it is assumed that human beings will interact with a robot as they would with another human being and provide the robot with the same inputs that would reach a human baby. Second it is assumed that the development, behaviour and cognition of a human baby can be replicated if the same external signals that are received by a human baby are programmed into a robot. Is there a certain something that is being missed here, an ingredient that is non-programmable? What do you think?

It all reminds me of the special jackets were designed some years ago in Japan for children who are away from their parents. The idea was that if the child wears the jacket the parent can give him or her remote ‘cyber-hugs’ through it. If this makes you squirm then ask yourself why? If you feel something is missing from a ‘cyber-hug’ what could that something be?

Image of Dr. Alex Schwarzkopf and his avatar

In a recent New Scientist article entitled “Immortal avatars: Back up your brain, never die” 2 Linda Geddes reports the first steps towards creating digital avatars that are to all intents and purposes clones of their human sponsors. Huge amounts of information are programmed by an individual into a ‘mind file’ that will form the avatar’s data, likes, dislikes and mannerisms. A representative from an organization funding research into such avatars says: “If you spent an hour a day answering questions, it would take five years to complete them all, but the further you go, the more accurate a representation of yourself the mind file will become.” She goes on to say that: “Ultimately, however, they aim to create a personalized, conscious avatar embodied in a robot – effectively enabling you, or some semblance of you, to achieve immortality.” “If you can upload yourself into this digital form, it could live forever,” says Nick Mayer of Lifenaut, a US company that is exploring ways to build lifelike avatars. “It really is a way of avoiding death.”

Would you be happy with that kind of eternal life? Would uploading who you are as a human being into a robotic avatar give you a sense of a future scope and existence after your body dies? Would that robot to all intents and purposes be you? If you feel comfortable and somewhat hopeful about living on in this way cyber-hugs and robot babies should be no problem for you also.

Screenshot from 'Second Life'

“Second Life,” an online game offering life in a virtual world has acquired five million subscribers in just five years. Michio Kaku envisages that “by 2020 there will be an entire 3D universe in cyberspace with virtual countries and governments, virtual schools and universities, virtual properties and stock markets and virtual families and friends. Virtual reality is going to be more and more like real reality. Already more than 20 million people worldwide spend an average of 20 hours a week in virtual worlds and some actually prefer virtual communication to socialising in the real world.” 3 Well if it makes them happy why not?

Why not indeed? Are you feeling a gathering sense of unease about all of this? Are the hairs on the back of your neck standing on end as mine are as I envisage the future that lies in wait for my children? If such is the case then somewhere inside you, you are sensing that there is something about natural humanity that cannot be digitally mastered and reproduced. If there is such a something then there must be an ingredient that is not formed of purely physical elements. Anything physical is potentially reproducible with the right technology.

In my books I suggest that the Grey aliens reported by so many reliable witnesses may well be the final product of a civilization that sought to avoid death with the same kind of technological developments I have just been describing. Could these entities be the epitome of artificial intelligence? Abductees have commented on their blank, emotionless faces as they carry out painful procedures on their human subjects many of which are centred on the reproductive system. The impression is that we are laboratory rats to them. They seem incapable of any emotion be it compassion and sympathy at one end of the scale or cruelty at the other. As such they cannot, it seems, be understood in anthropomorphic terms. From all accounts they are more like programmed machines, biological robots perhaps programmed to preserve the identity of their creators for eternity. This identity could be preserved in more than just a ‘mind file’ or avatar format. These entities could carry the DNA of their creators and clone it and re-clone it in an attempt to reconstruct the original genetic programme. They may have been designed with a view to space travel in order to find new fresh sources of DNA elsewhere in the universe to refresh their cloning process.

Scientists in the US have just succeeded in developing the first living cell to be controlled entirely by synthetic DNA. The researchers copied an existing bacterial genome. They sequenced its genetic code and then used ‘synthesis machines’ to chemically construct a copy. They copied this code and chemically constructed a new synthetic chromosome, piecing together blocks of DNA which they then transplanted it into a host cell. The resulting microbe then looked and behaved like the species ‘dictated’ by the synthetic DNA. The advance, published in Science, has been hailed as a scientific landmark, but critics say there are dangers posed by synthetic organisms.

Dr Venter (one of the researchers) told BBC News: ‘We’ve now been able to take our synthetic chromosome and transplant it into a recipient cell – a different organism. As soon as this new software goes into the cell, the cell reads [it] and converts into the species specified in that genetic code.’ 4

The new bacteria replicated over a billion times, producing copies that contained and were controlled by the constructed, synthetic DNA. Could the Greys themselves be created by an advanced technology using synthetic DNA. Could our hurtling progress towards technologies such as these mean that we are soon to produce our own type of Grey? Artificial DNA could be modelled on our own DNA pattern and modulated to cope more efficiently with the effects of a physical environment.

The implantation of chips in the human body is gaining acceptance, be it for the enhancement of intelligence or memory or as a type of medical alert bracelet implanted in the hand or wrist so that if you’re found unconscious you can be scanned and your medical history brought up.
Dr Mark Gasson from the University of Reading had a chip inserted in his hand which was then infected with a virus. The device, which enabled him to pass through security doors and activate his mobile phone was able to pass on the computer virus to external control systems. If other implanted chips had then connected to the system they too would have been corrupted, he said.

Professor Rafael Capurro of the Steinbeis-Transfer-Institute of Information Ethics in Germany warned that “if someone can get online access to your implant, it could be serious.” However, Dr Gasson believes that there will be a demand for these non-essential applications, much as people pay for cosmetic surgery.”If we can find a way of enhancing someone’s memory or their IQ then there’s a real possibility that people will choose to have this kind of invasive procedure.” 5

By all accounts the Grey aliens featured in thousands of abduction reports are obsessed with our reproductive capacity. That they are conducting a hybrid program with humanity has been extensively reported and according to Professor David Jacobs and Budd Hopkins, (the world’s leading researchers into the alien abduction premise), that the hybrid program has been stepped up many-fold over the last twenty years. To quote Professor Jacobs: “All of these accounts, to put it bluntly, point to a future in which human-looking hybrids will be here amongst us. The evidence is now so strong I can no longer look at alternative motivations for them. Everything I have learned about this subject in the past 20 years inexorably points to this conclusion. I cannot escape it.” 6 It is interesting to note that the past twenty years has also seen exponentially greater developments in bio-technology and artificial intelligence than any other time period. Could these developments and the hybrid programme be inextricably linked?

The DNA reference of the original creators of the Greys is long since likely to have broken down through the dispersive effect of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. So are they now seeking to refresh that reference through our DNA on our planet or the DNA of any sophisticated enough natural species they could find in the galaxy? Are they slowly and carefully melding their patterns into ours so that the two can be a viable match and their genetic programme can be reproduced? Just as our scientists copy the pattern of bacterial DNA are the Greys copying our pattern to create synthetic bio-mechanical entities like themselves. In doing so they would be simply following their programme to survive in as advantageous a form as possible in a physical universe. But what if we do have that extra something that is not of that physical universe, that same something that may have made you cringe when I spoke of robot babies and cyber-hugs, could they be interfering with that something? Could they be compromising a natural connection to a non-physical state beyond the physical universe? Could that connection which some might term a ‘soul’ be interrupted and delayed by artificial insertions that compromise its ability to translate the non-physical into the physical? Is this the price we pay for embracing the artificial, the synthetic and the virtual – the loss of the natural and the real?

I don’t wish to seem didactic or preach new meanings to anyone. But a mighty threshold is creeping up on us all. Particularly those of us in developed societies. A threshold that it seems we lose sight of all too often because it creeps up on us inexorably in our everydayness. That threshold is a sight of the importance of the distinction between the natural living aegis of our human condition and that of an artificially created one. The size, range, and potential of the human spirit in its natural harbour to soar to limitless horizons beyond the empirically definable is losing definition. The tendency to run with the impetus that science brings dominates our everyday lives and we deny ourselves those grand and inspiring perspectives that reach beyond the mundane and the ordinary. We only get rare glimpses of our true natural potential and these get rarer and rarer as we become more and more hitched up to the artificial reality that is thrown at us. How many cyber-hugs would add up to one real one? How many hours of virtual reality will add up to one moment of actual reality? Why is it that we are rarely if ever tempted to ask those questions these days?

© Nigel Kerner 2010

REFERENCES
1 news.uk.msn.com/world/articles
2 Immortal avatars: Back up your brain, never die (07 June 2010 by Linda Geddes, Magazine issue 2763)
3 ‘Visions of the Future’ – ‘The Intelligence Revolution’ (November 2007) BBC 4
4 news.bbc.co.uk
5 news.bbc.co.uk
6 David M. Jacobs, “A Picture We May Not Wish to Gaze Upon,” Journal of Abduction Encounters Research

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Uploading and Downloading Your Brain – Leads to synthetic people and the end of humanity

This is very interesting, because if Dr. Peter Beter’s audio tapes are correct, this technology has been around almost 50 years. An I think, that it has been available, but like Robert Duncan once said in “Project: Soul Catcher: Secrets of Cyber and Cybernetic Warfare Revealed“, the CIA and Military are 30 years ahead in technology.

And if this all is possible this could lead to scenario where you have a duplicate of yourself, like a clone, and then they just download your brain image to that clone. Then they get rid of “real” you so, that they can use and control the clone instead. This is quite scary, because this could create a slave society where all are clones or replicas, which obey everything… hey but that is like reality today… hehe just kidding, but seriously WAKE UP and keep on searching the Truth.

So here is a article about how we are capable of store our brain in the computer:

This Guy Wants to Help You Download Your Brain

Image via

Ever wanted to download a copy of your own brain? Say you went through a serious car crash, for example—wouldn’t it be nice to take out your damaged brain and replace it with a replica you’d downloaded and stashed away prior to the accident? Or perhaps over time you could even build a collection of brains, each storing different memories, thoughts, and dreams that would equate, in a sense, to different versions of you? Something like that might come in handy when you’re trying to throw off various neuroses, like a fear of asking out hot people or an anxiety about bungee ropes, or a reluctance to believe that scientists could one day pull something like this off.

There are people trying to make this a reality. Last month, a Japanese supercomputer managed to simulate one second of human brain activity; last summer, some German scientists unveiled a remarkably high-res 3D digital model of the human brain; and last April, the Obama administration announced the BRAIN Initiative, a research endeavour projected to cost hundreds of millions of dollars and take over a decade to complete. Its humble goal? To map every single one of the tens of billions of neurons in the human brain, creating a “connectome“—a comprehensive diagram of the brain’s neural connections.

Theoretically, a complete connectome of an individual’s brain would constitute a copy of the pathways between every memory, thought, and experience that person had ever had. The implications of this kind of precise knowledge of a brain are far-reaching, but at this point still largely speculative.

Current procedures for brain imaging on a micro level tend to be incredibly time-consuming, costly, and require the destruction (via slicing and/or dyeing) of the brain being studied. But with the freakish, robotic march of progress, the technology required is being built and improved upon, and some futurists suggest that humans will be able to download and store copies of their brains within the next two decades. Naturally, labs the world over want to get there first, but I couldn’t find many that are already trying to sell the tech to you.

One I did find is Brain Backups. Headed up by 32-year-old Russell Hanson, the neuroinformatics startup based out of Cambridge, Massachusetts, aims to map human brains without destroying them. While other research groups are being formed and funded through government grants, Brain Backups hopes to crowdsource a great deal of its research costs by offering the future storage of all your neurons and synapses. I gave Russell a call to find out his thoughts on the matter.

Russell Hanson.

VICE: Can you explain—in the simplest possible terms—what your company does or proposes to do?
Russell Hanson: Our team is developing the tools to image the brain non-destructively and non-invasively. The earlier methods in this field required slicing the brain very thin and imaging it on an electron microscope, which is both extremely slow and extremely expensive. We wanted to do this faster so researchers can learn how the brain changes over time, without destroying the brain every time they wanted to make a measurement.

OK, and how are you going to research this?
Obviously we’re talking about animal experiments here. We’re a small company with a big goal. We have some very talented engineers, scientists, and designers from MIT, Harvard, the Danish Technical University, UCLA, biotech, and pharma, and also the synthetic biology community in Boston. Our goal is to do this cheaply and non-destructively, so that anyone can image their brain, like they can map their genome affordably using a [personal genomics testing] service like 23andMe. I got into this a number of years ago when I asked how much space is needed to store the contents of the human brain in a class at MIT. It’s only become more interesting since then.

How much space is needed?
It depends a lot on how detailed the information you want to store is. The range is somewhere between 1,000 terabytes to 10,000 terabytes. With compression, this can be much smaller—this is an estimate of the uncompressed size.

Does the technology you want to use even exist yet?
The actual technology does exist, but it is cumbersomely slow and prohibitively expensive. Our equipment is quite real—we’re not working with hypothetical equipment. It’s incremental; we can do a certain set of things now, and we want to do a certain set of additional things tomorrow. And it’s just getting easier, just like building anything. Ford didn’t start out with their 2013 model, they started out with the 1908 Model T—the first car affordable to the middle class. And before that there were prototypes—19 of them, in fact, before they got to the Model T. The whole goal when I started this at MIT was to make the personal brain map affordable on a middle-class income.

A PET scan of a normal brain. Image via

At the moment, how much would it cost to back up your brain, and what exactly would that get a prospective buyer?
Please understand this is the current “research and development” price, not the price of the product, which will be much lower. The current estimate is in the range of $1.5 million to $3 million for a destructive, knife-edge scanning, optical microscope imaging of a human brain. It would give, essentially, a complete brain map, but of course would destroy the brain in the process. This would provide the set of images that can be used to do a whole brain circuit reconstruction.

There are other methods that use nanoparticles, synthetic biology, X-rays, or MRI that can reduce this cost significantly, and that do not require destroying the brain during imaging. The price for high-throughput genome sequencing has come down to $3,000 to $4,000 recently, and there are methods that are in development to use this inexpensive method to get high resolution brain connectivity information. Getting this cost down significantly, making the data more useful and easily understood, and building the interface and platform are the foci of our work.

Currently, you have to have a non-living brain for imaging, right? How far are you from being able to map a brain without destroying it?
It’s all about the resolution. Currently we can map the brain’s activity using fMRI non-destructively. Newer special purpose MRI machines with higher power and animal MRI machines have greater resolution than older medical MRI machines. Determining exactly what is needed for different types of brain maps apart from “everything” is an open research topic. What is the minimal amount of information needed to accurately characterize or model a brain, and in what way? Adapting these methods from animal experiments to safe methods that can be used with human subjects is where much of the new Obama BRAIN initiative and many research labs are heading.

So once a brain has been imaged, can you effectively play back that information, like a tape?
A single snapshot is a static image, so you can’t play something back that doesn’t have a time series associated with it. Conceivably, you could “rewind” just as you can peer back in time into your memories. The way different people access different pieces of their memories is hierarchical and everything is built upon prior experience, so you would have to build a special kind of “relative knowledge engine” that needs to construct the mechanism of accessing the memories for each person individually. Research has shown that the brain is very poor at telling wall-clock time, and is affected by all sorts of things, like whether we caused an event or not. So no—you can’t really “play back” the information in the kind of frame-by-frame or second-by-second manner we’re used to with audio or visual recordings.

The connectome, from my understanding, is simply the documentation of connections, but provides no information about what is being passed between neurons at these points. If you can’t play back or otherwise access the information in your brain, what’s the use to the average person of having a map of their brain’s pathways?
The goal of the work is to build the infrastructure to make this data usable and interesting. It is pretty clear that having the brain map is a necessary first component to “playing back” or “running” a meaningful dynamical simulation of a brain, whether it’s a mouse, fly, or human. We decided to tackle this engineering challenge first before the other one—that’s being worked on by other very capable groups. In its simplest form, this research will surely inform treatments for devastating diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, autism, depression, and others—research that the governmental funding agencies have a long history of supporting.

A 16th century diagram of how to prepare the skull for brain surgery. This is the kind of thing Brain Backups would like to avoid. Image via.

Who do you think might be interested in “backing up” their brain, and what might be the benefits of having a copy?
“Backing up” the brain is really just a short way of saying “getting the relevant information on cellular structure, neuronal connectivity, etc, at a very high resolution and recording all that information to a computer or hard drive.” There are lots of compelling reasons why getting this brain backup is useful. I think one of the most compelling ones is that it’s like an insurance policy, a backup of something you value. You could get in a car accident tomorrow morning and really wish you could just rewind. The medical benefits of having this detailed personal information are also huge: a doctor could know exactly which treatment you should receive for depression or Alzheimer’s or epilepsy without having to guess or rely on crude measurements.

What do you make of the suggestion that the brain can’t possibly be uploaded or stored in its entirety because its important features are the result of unpredictable, nonlinear interactions among billions of cells? Are the brain and the human experience it processes too random to be computerized?
This is essentially a computability problem. All of the information in the brain is a finite set of finite-precision numbers. It is well known that any finite set of finite-precision numbers is computable. From a chemical or biochemical perspective, having enough data about the biochemical interactions—i.e. that these proteins, genes, RNA, etc, are used in this neuron and in this way—is all the data that is needed to determine the neuron’s function. Gathering the appropriate dynamical and time series data with the appropriate metadata and also gathering the chemical and biochemical data without destroying what is being imaged is a technology problem, not an intrinsically intractable system. There are already many neuron modeling computer programs that can model experimental neuronal firing data very accurately.

What are the implications of having someone’s brain content downloaded somewhere, in terms of identity theft or large-scale life tampering?
I think it is very unlikely. For example, anyone can steal your DNA by just getting a sample of your saliva. I can’t think of anyone who thinks twice about spitting because they fear someone is going to come along and harvest their DNA, which is all the information needed to make them. These days, people are uploading all kinds of information about themselves, including their genome, because they realize this data is important and can benefit society. Some people are uploading their genomic information in the hopes that, because it is available, someone will use it to fix the ailments that affect them personally, or that affect their families. This is happening at hospitals in controlled environments, but also on the open internet. Right now it is a purely hypothetical problem of online genomic identity theft. It is too expensive, and the skills required are very specialized.

Regarding protecting the data, encryption is the industry standard. If you steal someone’s data, decrypt it and that data is used to impersonate someone—and that data you are using to impersonate them is everything they know—the problem becomes a little bit more tricky.

Yeah, I can see that you might run into a few problems there. Finally, can you map the brain successfully without mapping the consciousness? A lot of the criticisms of brain backup research seem to rest on the idea that machines can’t possibly process phenomenal human experience.
Most of the work on this tends to be philosophical. It is a classic philosophy vs. science debate. I am not much of a philosopher. In my view, and in the view of many others, consciousness arises from biological, chemical, and physical interactions. This isn’t to say that there aren’t many interesting philosophical issues of mapping the consciousness; there are. Deciphering the neural codes that are used to communicate with the nervous system has shown that they are indeed very much like machine codes.

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And here Stephen Hawking talks about the topic:

Could your brain keep on living even after your body dies? Sounds like science fiction, but celebrated theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking recently suggested that technology could make it possible.

“I think the brain is like a program in the mind, which is like a computer,” Hawking said last week during an appearance at the Cambridge Film Festival, The Telegraph reported. “So it’s theoretically possible to copy the brain on to a computer and so provide a form of life after death.”

He acknowledged that such a feat lies “beyond our present capabilities,” adding that “the conventional afterlife is a fairy tale for people afraid of the dark.”

Hawking, 71, made the remarks in conjunction with the premiere of a new documentary about his life.

He has spoken previously about what he calls the “fairy story” of heaven and the afterlife. Likening the human brain to a computer whose components will fail, he said, “There is no heaven or afterlife for broken-down computers.”

Some people are actively working to develop technology that would permit the migration of brain functions into a computer. Russian multi-millionaire Dmitry Itskov, for one, hopes someday to upload the contents of a brain into a lifelike robot body as part of his 2045 Initiative, The New York Times reported recently.

A separate research group, called the Brain Preservation Foundation, is working to develop a process to preserve the brain along with its memories, emotions and consciousness. Called chemical fixation and plastic embedding, the process involves converting the brain into plastic, carving it up into tiny slices, and then reconstructing its three-dimensional structure in a computer

 

 

And Here’s Michio Kaku talks about this topic:

 

Everyone is always talking about the good sides of technology, but what about this clone idea and mass control? No it’s not fashionable and people just don’t need to know the bad sides, let’s just microchip them all and tell them it’s a good idea because then we can read your medical records… bullshit. Via microchips they can start synthetic telepathy and control every fucking one of us. Have a nice day to you all.

Bionics, Transhumanism and the end of evolution

Bionics
 

Now I just want to awake the topic where we the people are creating things that should not be, why? Because we are not GODS! We should stop now and take a step back, this could be the end of our civilization. First some info about bionics:

Bionics (also known as bionical creativity engineering) is the application of biological methods and systems found in nature to the study and design of engineering systems and modern technology.[citation needed]

The word bionic was coined by Jack E. Steele in 1958, possibly originating from the technical termbion (pronounced bee-on) (from Ancient Greek: βίος), meaning ‘unit of life‘ and the suffix -ic, meaning ‘like’ or ‘in the manner of’, hence ‘like life’. Some dictionaries, however, explain the word as being formed as a portmanteau from biology + electronics. It was popularized by the 1970s television series The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman, which were based upon the novel Cyborg by Martin Caidin, which was influenced by Steele’s work, and feature humans given superhuman powers by electromechanical implants

The transfer of technology between lifeforms and manufactures is, according to proponents of bionic technology, desirable because evolutionary pressure typically forces living organisms, including fauna and flora, to become highly optimized and efficient. A classical example is the development of dirt- and water-repellent paint (coating) from the observation that the surface of the lotus flower plant is practically unsticky for anything (the lotus effect).[citation needed]

The term “biomimetic” is preferred when reference is made to chemical reactions.[citation needed] In that domain, biomimetic chemistry refers to reactions that, in nature, involve biological macromolecules (for example, enzymes or nucleic acids) whose chemistry can be replicated using much smaller molecules in vitro.

Examples of bionics in engineering include the hulls of boats imitating the thick skin of dolphins; sonar, radar, and medical ultrasound imaging imitating the echolocation of bats.

In the field of computer science, the study of bionics has produced artificial neurons, artificial neural networks,[1] and swarm intelligence. Evolutionary computation was also motivated by bionics ideas but it took the idea further by simulating evolution in silico and producing well-optimized solutions that had never appeared in nature.

It is estimated by Julian Vincent, professor of biomimetics at the University of Bath‘s department of mechanical engineering Biomimetics group, that “at present there is only a 12% overlap between biology and technology in terms of the mechanisms used”.[2]

History

The name biomimetics was coined by Otto Schmitt in the 1950s. The term bionics was coined by Jack E. Steele in 1958 while working at the Aeronautics Division House at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. However, terms like biomimicry or biomimetics are more preferred in the technology world in efforts to avoid confusion between the medical term bionics. Coincidentally, Martin Caidin used the word for his 1972 novel Cyborg, which inspired the series The Six Million Dollar Man. Caidin was a long-time aviation industry writer before turning to fiction full-time.

Methods

Velcro was inspired by the tiny hooks found on the surface of burs.

Often, the study of bionics emphasizes implementing a function found in nature rather than just imitating biological structures. For example, in computer science, cybernetics tries to model the feedback and control mechanisms that are inherent in intelligent behavior, while artificial intelligence tries to model the intelligent function regardless of the particular way it can be achieved.

The conscious copying of examples and mechanisms from natural organisms and ecologies is a form of applied case-based reasoning, treating nature itself as a database of solutions that already work. Proponents argue that the selective pressure placed on all natural life forms minimizes and removes failures.

Although almost all engineering could be said to be a form of biomimicry, the modern origins of this field are usually attributed to Buckminster Fuller and its later codification as a house or field of study to Janine Benyus.

Roughly, we can distinguish three biological levels in the fauna or flora, after which technology can be modeled:

Specific uses of the term

In medicine

Bionics is a term which refers to the flow of concepts from biology to engineering and vice versa. Hence, there are two slightly different points of view regarding the meaning of the word.

In medicine, bionics means the replacement or enhancement of organs or other body parts by mechanical versions. Bionic implants differ from mere prostheses by mimicking the original function very closely, or even surpassing it.

Bionics’ German equivalent, Bionik, always adheres to the broader meaning, in that it tries to develop engineering solutions from biological models. This approach is motivated by the fact that biological solutions will usually be optimized by evolutionary forces.

While the technologies that make bionic implants possible are still in a very early stage, a few bionic items already exist, the best known being the cochlear implant, a device for deaf people. By 2004 fully functional artificial hearts were developed. Significant further progress is expected to take place with the advent of nanotechnologies. A well-known example of a proposed nanodevice is a respirocyte, an artificial red cell, designed (though not built yet) by Robert Freitas.

Kwabena Boahen from Ghana was a professor in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania. During his eight years at Penn, he developed a siliconretina that was able to process images in the same manner as a living retina. He confirmed the results by comparing the electrical signals from his silicon retina to the electrical signals produced by a salamander eye while the two retinas were looking at the same image.

In 2007 the Scottish company Touch Bionics launched the first commercially available bionic hand, named “i-Limb Hand”. According to the firm, by May 2010 it has been fitted to more than 1,200 patients worldwide.[14]

The Nichi-In group is working on bimomimicking scaffolds in tissue engineering, stem cells and regenerative medicine have given a detailed classification on biomimetics in medicine.[15]

Politics

A political form of biomimicry is bioregional democracy, wherein political borders conform to natural ecoregions rather than human cultures or the outcomes of prior conflicts.

Critics of these approaches often argue that ecological selection itself is a poor model of minimizing manufacturing complexity or conflict, and that the free market relies on conscious cooperation, agreement, and standards as much as on efficiency – more analogous to sexual selection. Charles Darwin himself contended that both were balanced in natural selection – although his contemporaries often avoided frank talk about sex, or any suggestion that free market success was based on persuasion, not value.

Advocates, especially in the anti-globalization movement, argue that the mating-like processes of standardization, financing and marketing, are already examples of runaway evolution – rendering a system that appeals to the consumer but which is inefficient at use of energy and raw materials. Biomimicry, they argue, is an effective strategy to restore basic efficiency.

Biomimicry is also the second principle of Natural Capitalism.

Other uses

Business biomimetics is the latest development in the application of biomimetics. Specifically it applies principles and practice from biological systems to business strategy, process, organisation design and strategic thinking. It has been successfully used by a range of industries in FMCG, defence, central government, packaging and business services. Based on the work by Phil Richardson at the University of Bath[16] the approach was launched at the House of Lords in May 2009.

In a more specific meaning, it is a creativity technique that tries to use biological prototypes to get ideas for engineering solutions. This approach is motivated by the fact that biological organisms and their organs have been well optimized by evolution. In chemistry, a biomimetic synthesis is a chemical synthesis inspired by biochemical processes.

Another, more recent meaning of the term bionics refers to merging organism and machine. This approach results in a hybrid system combining biological and engineering parts, which can also be referred as a cybernetic organism (cyborg). Practical realization of this was demonstrated in Kevin Warwick‘s implant experiments bringing about ultrasound input via his own nervous system.

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Then I put some videos where this madness is explained:

 

 

 

 

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